Microadventure

We set off with Marcel on dad-son microadventure to New Forest. The highlight of the trip was visit to National Motor Museum. I must admit we were nicely surprised with the quality, but disappointed with ticket prices for me+child £29, even with 20% off for using a bicycle to get there.

  

After visit we dived into New Forest and setup small camp.

This was Marceli’s first time sleeping in a hammock so he was a bit wiggly whole night, but I think he will eventually like it. Amazing night without even slightest wind, so that added to whole excitement. You can clearly hear forest life, we even heard being robbed from our cashew nuts at some point, but too lazy to get out and check ;-).

I wanted to test Blackburn cargo cages, as some time ago I swapped my fork with fancy steel one with all possible mounts and nuts (on each leg I got 7 attachment points for different setups).

The cages/bags worked like expected, and whole sleeping system (hammock, tarp, underquilt, sleeping bag) can be carried in these two bags. This way I’m really accessing these on camp, and I can use more accessible rear panniers for other gear.

All in all, 100km covered and I used trains and small ferry to make whole trip more interesting (and split into “chunks”). Quality time with kids, to prevent them becoming just customers in the future.

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Winter grind…

Gorgeous weather whole week, so I tried last week put new chain (3rd) on my bike, and suprise suprise. I had to order new cog.

Old cog vs new after grinding English mud for three winters 😉

Anyway I did hub maintenance, as well. After almost 1 year not looking inside my gear hub (Alfine 8 sp) everything look nice. Castrol ATF oil looks still a bit pinkish, so that’s good sign. This is my third year after switching to Castrol ATF, strongly recommended as Shimano oil is very expensive. I’ll post whole procedure (as I’m doing it) soon but basically I’m using plastic pet bottle and hub on cordless drill to “stir” the oil. Afterwards, again using centrifugal force I’m removing oil excess from the hub (rather than dipping and than leaving for 30 minutes – stupid, my whole procedure takes maybe 20minutes).

The other thing I noticed (which is quite annoying), that cone on non drive side was loose. I don’t know what people are doing to prevent this, but is right pain in the arse. God knows how many times I tighten that…

Happy pedaling spring is just around the corner

diy camping air pump

It’s quite an old idea, not mine, you can google it or go here, here or here to see how other people doing it. Below my variation of same old trick. The biggest benefit IMHO is that the moisture is not building up inside air bed, and obviously is super quick. You can still splash £30 on Thermarest NeoAir Mini Pump if you like, but that’s couple bottles of wine or new Schwalbe Marathon (plus beer for fitting procedure), or 6 bags of coffee… all above better than another unnecessary gizmo.

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I cut threaded part of bottleneck from PET bottle and make hole in the cap

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from piece of plastic (ice cream box or sth) a circle has been cut same diameter as bottle neck with hole inside, which makes kinda washer

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3 inch piece of road (18-25c) inner tube for nozzle

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inserted plastic “washer” into inner tube

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like so…

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everything put back together

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I made a hole in plastic bag and put nozzle through

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to seal the connection, wrapped a piece of velcro ( might be a rubber band or something)

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alternatively the bag can be trapped underneath cap, just screw the bottleneck in

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now you can “grab” some air with the bag and squeeze it into sleeping mat. Once technique is mastered should be a bliss. On the picture is Big Agnes Air Core and took about a minute to inflate it. Basically 3 bags of air squeezed in, job done. The small rubber o-ring I added for extra grip on the valve.

Cheers!

3 pics, 30 pence, 5 minutes

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5 minute, 30 pence, solution in 3 pictures, for notorious problem we had on recent trip to France

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corkscrew picked up from carboot sale – 30 pence

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pin has been drilled and the only interesting part removed – 5 minute job

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combined with 3mm Allen key from multitool hopefully will save some faff dealing with wine

 

100% accurate forecast

The forecast for bank holiday weekend was riding with a bit of drinking and was 100% accurate! C.a. 300km covered in France, sun, tailwind, cheap wine and beer. Back to reality.

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DIY double battery pack

It was annoying for me to swap batteries in the dark on a ride back from work (original battery pack 4×18650 is slowly dying…), so I came up with idea of making double battery from storage container. Actually to be honest Steffano’s problem inspired me. I used 6 pin toggle switch grommet for 3mm cable, 2.1mm connectors (I wanted to be able to use battery pack same way as originally designed), pro 500ml container. Short story below in pictures. Thankfully my soldering isn’t visible ;-). Basically I’m able with one flip of a switch swap between second battery pack.

Keep’em rolling. (in the dark)

DIY mattress pump (plus hot porn video)

Probably the most useful piece of camping kit I’ve made (to date) plus as a bonus you can see pretty hot porn video with this piece of kit in action ;-).

Googling the other day I came across Exped Minipump. This is an awesome idea, but I’m not sure will fit other brands than Exped. They making quite ok camping gear, but unfortunately too dear for me. So I tried recreate more less same product.

I made valve connector with cable gland. Just cut inside to fit valve.

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Cut ripstop in a shape of big lollipop as below. (already looking hot ;-))

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As ripstop is quite thin I had to reinforce hole with a bit of stronger fabic. Tested and sewn to leg of one “lollipop”.

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A “bun” been made with foam I found at office. The additional holes are to decrease slightly volume of the foam (will pack smaller).

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In other lollipop piece i made air intake hole, and everything has been put together. Voilà, ready to test. Uhh! Ohh! look at that hot pictures below!

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And now promised porn. Do not watch it if you’re under 18! Camera! action!

Final thoughts. Obviously that is prototype or MK1 if you like, just to prove the concept. The pump works ok, but I didn’t pay too much attention to details (as I wanted quickly test it), so I think the air leaks are the main problem. Other than that the test was promising enough to make another iteration in the nearest future.

Mistakes. “Foam bun” is too small, should fill completely wider part. I’m planning to add valve in “hose” part of the lollipop as I got feeling that air been sucked back a bit. The hose is not acting completely as expected, I thought negative pressure will squeeze walls and act as valve). I hoped that  stitching need to be air tight so next time I’m going to glue pieces together and than sew it. Intake hole need to be a bit smaller.

Time for Mk2, stay tuned!